There are many other contenders, lets hear your thoughts.
This started off as a discussion between a few car friends and I over drinks...maybe too many, hence the results.
What were the most impactful cars or models over the past say ~60 years? By impactful, or significant we meant not exotics or halo cars, prototypes, etc., not even good or exciting vehicles, but those that had a lasting impact on the industry, good or bad. We intentionally left off the early Japanese vehicles from the import invasion, that can be another day's discussion.
Here are our few, in no particular order;
The car that pretty much created the sporty sedan/coupe category and showed that a car could be quick, nimble, fun, safe (for the time), reliable and practical. It made BMW in the US...yes they had sold Isettas, sedans and beautiful, expensive coupes, but the 2002 really broadened their appeal. Put this first as the conversation began as we were standing around one while I installed a new coil.
Made the pony car category; pretty, affordable, and developed into some darn impressive performance machines. Fanatical following and the name has survived despite some really low points in the mid 70's and early 80's.
The must have family vehicle of the early 80's. You could argue they helped save Chrysler. Screamed practicality (or suburban stupor, depending on your perspective
) Affordable, again practical, early ones weren't that safe (believe they were classified as vans...didn't think they had to meet passenger car standards at first, but I could be wrong) and generated huge margins for the manufacturers. Marketing folks nailed this one, and the one below.
The must have family vehicle from the early 90's and alternative for those who just couldn't stomach a minivan. Created the modern SUV, suburban assault vehicle category as the mandatory family hauler for those treacherous excursions from the house to ball field, school and Whole Foods. For this Ford should be honored or vilified, your choice... There were earlier SUV's; Bronco, Range Rover, Jeeps, but none had the Explorers impact.
Jeep Wrangler/Chevrolet Corvette/Porsche 911
Three vehicles that have generally stayed as true to their roots. All have soldiered on and gotten better and changed to keep up with regulations and consumer tastes, but are still what they started out as. Yes they have gotten a bit softer and larger, but so have we.